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Graph Convolutional Networks for Epigenetic State Prediction Using Both Sequence and 3D Genome Data

By Jack Lanchantin, Yanjun Qi

Posted 13 Nov 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/840173

Predictive models of DNA epigenetic state such as transcription factor binding are essential for understanding regulatory processes and developing gene therapies. It is known that the 3D genome, or spatial structure of DNA, is highly influential in the epigenetic state. Deep neural networks have achieved state of the art performance on epigenetic state prediction by using short windows of DNA sequences independently. These methods, however, ignore the long-range dependencies when predicting the epigenetic states because modeling the 3D genome is challenging. In this work, we introduce ChromeGCN, a graph convolutional network for epigenetic state prediction by fusing both local sequence and long-range 3D genome information. By incorporating the 3D genome, we relax the i.i.d. assumption of local windows for a better representation of DNA. ChromeGCN explicitly incorporates known long-range interactions into the modeling, allowing us to identify and interpret those important long-range dependencies in influencing epigenetic states. We show experimentally that by fusing sequential and 3D genome data using ChromeGCN, we get a significant improvement over the state-of-the-art deep learning methods as indicated by three metrics. Importantly, we show that ChromeGCN is particularly useful for identifying epigenetic effects in those DNA windows that have a high degree of interactions with other DNA windows.

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